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This stop motion animation made with a power drill is surprisingly fun to watch

A Los Angeles-based artist is making waves on the internet by creating stop motion animation with only a stack of paper, ink and of course, a power drill.

Federico Tobon describes himself as a generalist. Aside from drawing and painting, he also dabbles in woodworking, metalworking and even electronics.

Inspired by early 20th century motion picture devices like the Mutoscope or the Kinetoscope, Tobón’s initial objective was to create his own flicker machine.

Halfway through the process, in order to test the animation, he decided to snap the flip book onto a power drill.

He explained to Doodlers Anonymous,  “I wanted to make my own from scratch so I started building it. When I had the frames mounted on the spindle I wanted to test it and since I didn’t have a box yet, or any other plans for a crank or a motor, I mounted it on the drill to get a smooth rotation. The drill seemed like the easiest thing that was lying around at the moment.”

I had to test it with the drill. This is not the final form but it's fun to see it working. Next I'm building a box. This post wasn't sponsored by Milwaukee by the way. 😬 . . . . For licensing/commercial usage, please contact licensing@rumble.com.

A post shared by federico tobon 🐱 (@wolfcatworkshop) on

The video of his test went viral, earning mentions in Boing Boing and stacking thousands of views on YouTube and Instagram.

According to Tobon, the whole endeavour took him about eight hours spread over several days. To him, the most difficult part of the process so far has been inking the actual pictures, of which he needs twenty four per second of footage.

The curious thing is that his test has earned more attention than the finished machine itself. He’s very close to completion, and he posted his latest update a couple of days ago.

My drill had other jobs to do so I repurposed this motor and worm drive from a CD player. You can also see the new plywood box and bigger hardwood axle.

A post shared by federico tobon 🐱 (@wolfcatworkshop) on

In true DIY spirit, Federico encourages other people to create their own devices and suggests Flipbook, a free software tool to slice your animations into a proper printable template.

“Draw your animation on paper with the correct aspect ratio to use the Flipbookit maker tool. It’s a pretty nice free tool that lets you upload your animation and it turns it into a printable template,” he said. “It’s a good idea to start with the right proportions to minimise editing after scanning. That would be 4:3.34 – after scanning each frame will be 800 pixels by 667 pixels.”

He also gives some tips to artists who want to give it a shot.

“There are only 24 frames, and that sounds like a lot of drawings, but it’s a short amount of action when animated. So make it simple, and plan the flow of the movement ahead of time. If you plan on making your own flip cards use cardstock and tape a piece of stiff wire on the edge, then glue your printed animation over it. Not all drills are made equal, find one that can go at slow speed. If you want more specific details feel free to send me a message and let’s bring back mechanical animations.”

About the author

Filmmaker. 3D artist. Procrastination guru. I spend most of my time doing VFX work for my upcoming film Servicios Públicos, a sci-fi dystopia about robots, overpopulated cities and tyrant states. @iampineros

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